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Wine Direct to Trade Launch

Posted on July 31, 2012

Aimed at providing a one-stop online wholesale platform for California wineries and importers, Wine Direct to Trade has opened its portal providing access to more than 1,000 of the top California retailers, restaurateurs and online retailers.

Wine Direct to Trade is a secure and cost effective sales vehicle to generate in-state wholesale business for California wineries and California-licensed importers who lack representation or want to supplement existing sales and distribution in the state.

Retailers and restaurateurs can browse hundreds of artisan wines on a single website and make purchases 24 hours a day.

Wine Direct to Trade was launched by Karen Barnes based on her background in direct on-line wine sales for Napa Valley wineries and Steve Winter, whose experience includes senior roles with wine wholesalers and sales and marketing posts with premium and artisan California wineries.

“We created WDT to generate and facilitate wholesale sales in a clogged marketplace,” said Winter. “In the last 20 years the number of California wineries has increased more than tenfold while the number of distributors has shrunk by more than a third, creating a real bottleneck for smaller, specialty producers and importers. Additionally, the resulting artificially limited selection negatively impacts both retailers and consumers.”

All WDT services can be targeted to specific geographic regions or individual sales channels; such as target restaurants in Los Angeles or the San Francisco Bay Area.

“WDT will help wineries and importers grow business and give retailers the opportunity to differentiate their product mix from competitors,” said WDT co-founder Barnes.

“Wineries with existing sales representation will benefit by supplemented sales efforts that generate pre-qualified leads for repetitive follow up and sales,” she said.

To use the WDT service, both producers/importers and buyers submit their ABC license information on the secure WDT website. After license verification, clients list their wines for sale and buyers will be able to access and shop the WDT sales portal. Producers can list as many or as few of their wines as they wish, offering only older vintages or limited volume wines or just the highest volume items.

Order fulfillment is handled by wineries, producers and importers.

(Note: A Type 2 license allows direct wholesale sales by California wineries to ABC licensed restaurants and retailers in the state. For California-based wine importers, a Type 17 license permits the direct sales.)

About Wine Direct to Trade (WDT) Founders:

Co-Founder Karen Barnes has been working in the wine industry in Napa Valley for more than 15 years, focusing on direct to consumer sales and management. She began Wine Direct Marketing Services in 2002, managing wine clubs, allocation release programs, online marketing and eCommerce solutions to support small and virtual wineries increase and expand their direct to consumer business.

Co-Founder Steve Winter has 29 years of experience in sales and general management for major California wine distributors and wineries. This includes serving as western regional representative, Western VP of Sales and director of national sales and marketing for medium and smaller boutique Napa and Sierra Foothills wineries.


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